DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Two missiles fired from territory held by Yemen's Houthi rebels missed a commercial tanker loaded with Indian-manufactured jet fuel near the key Bab el-Mandeb Strait on Wednesday, two U.S. officials said. It is the first time they target an energy shipment heading to the Suez Canal.
An American warship, the USS Mason, also shot down a suspected Houthi drone flying in its direction during the incident, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters. No one was hurt in the attack, the officials said.
The assault on the tanker Ardmore Encounter further escalates a campaign by the Iranian-backed rebels targeting ships close to the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, and also widens the international impact of the Israel-Hamas war raging in the Gaza Strip.
The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker was traveling north toward the Suez Canal in the Red Sea, satellite tracking data analyzed by The Associated Press showed. The vessel was on its way from Mangalore, India, and had an armed security crew aboard it, according to data transmitted by the ship. Those guards apparently opened fire to drive off skiffs loaded with men trying to board the vessel, the private intelligence firm Ambrey said.
Ardmore Shipping Corp., which owns and operates the ship, issued a statement to the AP acknowledging the attack.
“No one boarded the vessel and all crew members are safe and accounted…